Am I being unreasonable?

I’ve been divorced for 11 years. My ex is a decent guy, and we get along fairly well–he pays his support on time, gets the kids (my two oldest) every other weekend, etc.
He doesn’t, however, ever participate in anything the kids do, such as school events. I used to invite him and his wife to such things, but it became apparent that he felt I was “bugging” him, so I stopped.
Anyway, he, his wife, and the kids go camping every year over the Memorial Day weekend. This year, however, my oldest son has a jazz concert on the 24th. He’s playing a solo, even! Having just started on trombone this year (he’s a tuba player at heart), this is a major, big deal.

I had mentioned this to my ex beforehand, but he thought they would be leaving on Saturday, so no problem there. Then, when I called to tell them when the concert was, he announced that they would be leaving on Friday afternoon. Which means, naturally, that my son would miss his concert.

Now, I rarely kick up a fuss with my ex, and I really do NOT want to be a b*tch, but I’m NOT putting my son in a position where he has to choose. He’s nearly 16, he loves his dad, and I don’t want him feeling guilty. So I’m willing to take the heat and Just Say No, he can’t miss his concert. Period. I’ll offer to drive him halfway (it’s about a 4 hour trip) to the campground on Saturday, if someone can meet me. That way he won’t miss his weekend, or his concert.

His dad is not going to go for this, I’m afraid. (I haven’t talked to him yet as he’s gone for the weekend.) But I’m feeling pretty firm about this.

Am I wrong?


How does your son feel about this? Would he rather go camping or to his concert? Would he feel guilty if he missed the camping trip?

I don’t think you’re wrong for not wanting to make your son choose between the two options. I’m not a musician, but I’ll hazard a guess that a lot of time and practice went into preparation for the concert. To say “Whoops, it’s Friday afternoon and not Saturday so all that goes for nothing” seems worse than to me than “You’re doing the concert and we’ll make other plans.”

I don’t think so. You’ve offered to drive him to the campground!

Let’s see what the ex says.

My $.02:

Your son has a committment to the band . Are they supposed to fall silent during his solo? Or shove in some other kid who hasn’t had time to rehearse as a last second replacement?

Your compromise sounds fair . Especially since it seems your ex didn’t decide to leave Friday afternoon till after you told him about the concert… If it’s feasible(and there’s not some post concert stuff your son plans on attending) I might even offer the additional alternative of offering to have all your son’s gear ready to go if his adoring dad would like to see him perform.

Tell your ex that your son’s committment to the band takes priority,restate your offer, & leave it at that. THEN tell your son what you have decided and why.

Good luck.

I don’t think you’re being unreasonable at all…in fact, since this is a school event (I assume) there should be absolutely no question that your son would perform. (Though for the school to schedule a concert the day a holiday weekend starts seems to be just a bit irritating). But especially since he has a solo. Yes, there’s usually someone waiting in the wings to take over the solo should your son break an arm on the way in the door, but why take that away from him just to get an early start on camping? It’s not like the ex bought non-refundable airline tickets for a once-in-a-lifetime world tour planned for years in advance. Stand firm, tell the ex his grade will be affected if he doesn’t play (that’s how it worked in my day) and then, get ready to drive.

My .02(Added to madcat's makes .04)

I think you are on the right track. Some good points have already been made, and I won’t repeat those.
Certainly, DON’T make it your son’s choice! Years later, I’ve still got some hard feelings about being asked: “Who would you rather…” All parents should avoid that line, at all costs, I think.

I would probably offer to take the son all the way on that four hour drive, instead of meeting your ex half way. But that’s just me. I hope this turns out well for you and your son.

Wow, that’s a whole dime’s worth of advice already!

I feel a little better about this now. I’m not happy with the school’s scheduling this on a Friday night, but I know they’re running out of times to schedule events, as the end of the school year draws nigh.

I did invite the ex to come to the concert and then leave directly afterward; that was, of course, before he decided that they were leaving on Friday night.

I just hate to see my son put in this position. He loves band, loves performing, and as I said, this is a very big deal. He’s a gifted musician (caught us all by surprise), and I wish his dad would “get” it and show a little more support. sigh Barring that, I’m willing to draw the line and not force him to make choices.

If my van were running better (well, if it wasn’t making that ominous squeaking sound, anyway), and if I wasn’t afraid of getting totally lost, I’d offer take him the whole way. Then they would DEFINITELY find a way to solve the dilemma, for fear I would want to sit around the campfire and sing cowboy songs with them. :smiley:

Thanks, folks.


I ABSOLUTELY think you are doing the right thing. In fact, I have rather critical thoughts about your ex, and his apparent cluelessness about your son, and the importance of this concert. The fact that he (your ex) expects your son to work his life around his (your ex’s) life is not a good thing, in my opinion. STICK TO YOUR GUNS. It sounds like you are.

Man - this kind of shit makes me appreciate my late father all the more. It would have never occurred to him to pull this kind of BS on one of his kids.

I think you are totally doing the right thing. You are really putting yourself out for the sake of your son, in offering to drive him. I am sure your ex will also be reasonable - he might not want to attend the concert, but he surely wouldn’t want to deprive his son the opportunity of doing something that’s really important to him, and he’s worked hard towards.

Good luck, and I hope the concert goes well. If someone’s taping it maybe get a copy so your kid can show his dad.